Olympic Beam Champion Liu Xuan

The Gymblog has yet another fantastic, original post on one of the most inventive gymnasts of all time — Liu Xuan from China.

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… Xuan, who was considered too old by her coaches to be competitive at the 2000 Olympics, stunned everybody by striking gold on balance beam with the routine of a lifetime during event finals. Not to mention the bronze she got in the all-around when Andreea Raducan was stripped of her title. …

… I discovered that Liu was perhaps the first to perform a Jaeger with a half turn on uneven bars, which countrywoman Li Ya amazed everybody with at Cottbus in 2006 by performing it in combination with a second Jaeger. …

Liu also pioneered a one-arm giant, which she performed in combination with a second one-arm giant into a Geinger in 1995 and 1996.

see the original article – Another innovation from Liu Xuan « Gymblog

As usual, Gymblog posts videos of those big skills. (Li Ya doing Jaeger half to Jaeger is brilliant!) And note the new use of TAGS on the that site. It’s easier to find posts TAGGED with your favourite gymnast’s name.

Who else was a great innovator in the sport of Artistic Women’s Gymnastics? Leave a comment if you have an opinion.

Two on my list are Natalia Shaposhnikov and Natalia Yurchenko, both coached by legendary tyrant Vladislav Rastorotsky.

Michelle Berube – Rhythmic gymnast

Michelle Berube is in the Gymnastics USA Hall of Fame. She competed both 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

Where is she now?

…Following her gymnastics career, Michelle moved to Los Angeles and began work in the entertainment field. Some of her accomplishments include the American Music Awards, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour, The 1995 Oscars and an appearance in Quinten Tarantino’s film From Dusk ‘till Dawn.

Currently Michelle resides with her husband Joseph Schneider in West Hills, California . Michelle and Joseph have 2 children …

USA Gymnastics

She has even choreographed a commercial with Shaquille O’Neal.

I was reminded of the charismatic athlete when I saw her photo on the GYMNASTS HAVE MORE FUN group on Facebook which has many more great pics.

gymnast Darlene Hill has a shot at Olympics

I was impressed at US Championships. Darlene Hill would be a starter on the National Team for any country in the World — except the USA. She’ll have to stay healthy and be very consistent in training camps to be chosen for the Olympics.

Good luck!

When she explodes off the horse and flips into the air, heads turn.

Darlene Hill, an 18-year-old diminutive powerhouse, commands attention without really trying at the Will-Moor School of Gymnastics.

The soft-spoken gymnast plans to change her name to Darling to reflect her birth certificate. She typifies that name. “I don’t like a lot of attention,” she said.

Quiet, poised and incredibly fit, she was one of a dozen gymnasts who qualified for the U.S. Women’s National team in August. She’ll compete in June for a spot on the seven-member U.S. Olympic team. Tryouts will be held at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. The 2008 Olympics open in Beijing on Aug. 8.

The 5-foot-tall, 110-pound Hill is also a former Junior Olympic national champion. Her expertise on the parallel bars and floor exercises could help her land a spot on the Olympic team, said longtime coach Kim Bonus. …

Is she nervous about trying out for the Olympics?

“I don’t get nervous anymore,” Hill said. “I feel prepared, so there’s nothing to be nervous about.”

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JOHN ZIOMEK/Courier-Post

read the entire article – Mt. Laurel gymnast eyes Olympic team

UPDATE: Darlene Hill: Olympic sleeper? – more on the Gymblog

coaching clinic, Brooks, Alberta

Just a shout out to some friends who assisted me with a 30+ hour coaching course in a small town gym last week.

This is Altadore Head Coach Jeremy Mosier. With Brooks Head Coach Tracy Jegou looking on.

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photo credit – Altadore Assistant Head Coach Sheena Steacy

A highlight of the long weekend was using the new safety straps bar in Tracy’s gym. This will make training easier and safer!

THANKS to all who participated.

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a few of the demonstrators

World Gymnastics Championships Review

The perfect 10 blog posted the first of a 3 part review of the Women’s Artistic World Championships.

World Championships Review, Part 1 – the GOOD highlighting:

* Li Shanshan
* Jade Barbosa
* Daria Joura
* Nastia Liukin
* Vanessa Ferrari
* Yang Yilin
* Shawn Johnson
* Jiang Yuyan
* Cheng Fei
* Ksenia Semenova

And although I am mainly commentating on the Women’s competition here, I would like to add the U.S. Men’s performance to this list. For all the talk and negative hype about whether or not they would even qualify for the Olympics, they really stepped up and showed everyone that they are in the game to play. Well done.

read the entire perfect 10 » World Championships Review, Part 1

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Daria Joura photos – Gymbox.net

video – progressions for wall flips

After watching the most extreme wall flips video yet, we spotted some of the Funtastics Artistic girls off the wall — they LOVE doing them.

The most important teaching point is to run up a “cheese” mat when learning. In fact, at Taiso Gymnastics, we started with 3 cheese mats (providing about a 60 degree angle slope) … then reduced it to 2 cheese mats … and finally one mat.

Very few gymnasts get good enough to do back flip off a wall without a mat.

Check out the matting and progressions used by these Parkour acrobats on advanced flips. Posted by FreeRunLA.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

one-way mirrored windows in the gym

A coach — Nick Checker — resigned his position after 21-years with his club to protest a management decision that opened his gym to spectators, including parents.

Checker had argued that he covered the viewing window “so parents didn’t distract children and to reduce risk of injury”.

Personally, I prefer children’s sports clubs to be open to spectators at all times, even at risk of distraction.

But there is a great compromise, one with which almost every coach can agree. Spectators sit behind one-way mirrored glass.

Parents can see in. But the gymnast sees a mirror.

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Altadore Gymnastics has used them for years (originally installed by Dave Holmes, I seem to recall) and they have been very successful.

The Gym Chat Forum has a thread on this topic with links to the Nick Checker situation: A coach that doesn’t want parents to watch?!

Rebecca Bross – next gymnastics superstar?

Coach Rachael Tart from Funtastics recently travelled to WOGA in Texas to see what she could learn in what I consider the most interesting gymnastics club in the world.

She came back raving about USA Jr. Champion Rebecca Bross — especially her huge double Arabian dismount off beam. (Recall Carly Patterson’s beam dismount?)

They say big things come in small packages. Words were never more true than for national team member Rebecca Bross. Becca, as she is more commonly know, is the youngest of 2 children born to Terry Bross & Donna Brugge. Becca was born on July 11, 1993 in Ann Arbour, Michigan. At the age of 6 Rebecca’s parents put her in a gymnastics class, where she fell in love with the sport. Since then Becca has been steadily climbing the ranks as one of the USA’s top gymnasts at the Junior International level.

In 2003, during Rebecca’s level 7 season she moved to Plano, TX to train at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA), under Valari Liukin and Natalya Marakova. …

bio – Rebecca Bross Online | www.sitesbyspeedle.com/rebecca

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The Gymblog speculates that one of the big rivalries of the 2012 Olympic quadrennial just might be Bross vs Russian Aliya Mustafina:

… Mustafina, meanwhile, hasn’t had the breadth of competition experience Bross has, but everywhere she’s appeared, she’s stunned with her elegance and big skills.

read more … Gymblog

I hope so. But it is far better to be born just old enough to qualify for the Olympics (like Shawn Johnson) than just too young, like Rebecca Bross.

Valeri Liukin will have a long-term training plan leading to the London Olympics.

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more photos

what do you think of mixed martial arts?

Many gymnastics coaches, many of my friends, are seriously into mixed martial arts.

This is my first ever post on MMA. I’m still not convinced I’m on board with where it’s going.

On the other hand, I just watched a TV interview with GSP, Georges St. Pierre, a superstar of the sport. Obviously he is a superb and serious athlete.

Georges “Rush” Saint-Pierre (born May 19, 1981), often referred to as GSP, is a French Canadian mixed martial arts fighter and former UFC welterweight champion.

… He is ranked by Sherdog as well as MMAWeekly the #2 170lb (77kg) fighter in the world …

Wikipedia

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GEORGES ST-PIERRE | THE OFFICIAL SITE | GSP FIGHT CLUB

In some towns in North America, mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing youth sports.

And don’t be surprised if the IOC decides — once skateboard is in for 2012 — to add some form of MMA to the Olympics one day.

What do you think of mixed martial arts?

Leave a comment below.